Eman Baraka1, Nashwa Hashaad1, Walid Abdelhalim2, Gehan Elolemy1

1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Division of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine, Benha University, Benha, Egypt
2Department of Clinical and Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Benha University, Benha, Egypt

Keywords: Cystatin C, disease activity, juvenile lupus nephritis, renal biopsy, βeta-2 microglobulin.


Objectives: In this study, we aimed to assess serum levels of Cystatin C (Cys C) and beta-2 microglobulin (β2M) in juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus (JSLE) patients and to investigate their role as potential biomarkers of lupus nephritis (LN) and overall disease activity.

Patients and methods: Between December 2018 and November 2019, a total of 40 patients with JSLE (11 males, 29 females; mean age: 12.6±2.5 years; range, 7.5 to 16 years) and 40 age- and sex-matched controls (10 males, 30 females; mean age: 12.3±2.4 years; range, 7 to 16 years) were included in this study. Serum (s) Cys C and β2M levels were compared between the groups. The SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI-2K), the renal SLEDAI (rSLEDAI), and the Renal Damage Index were used.

Results: JSLE patients had significantly elevated mean sCyc C and sβ2M levels (1.4±0.8 mg/mL and 2.8±0.9 mg/mL, respectively) compared to the controls (0.6±0.1 mg/mL and 2.0±0.2 mg/mL, respectively; p<0.00). The mean sCys C and sβ2M levels were significantly higher in the LN group, compared to non-LN patients (1.8±0.7 mg/mL and 3.1±1.0 mg/mL, respectively vs. 0.8±0.3 mg/mL and 2.4±0.6 mg/mL, respectively; p=0.002 and p=0.02, respectively). The sCys C levels had significant positive correlations with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (r=0.3, p=0.05), serum creatinine (r=0.41, p= 0.007), 24-h urinary protein (r=0.58, p<0.001), anti-double stranded deoxyribonucleic acid antibodies titers (r=0.55, p=0.002), extra-renal SLEDAI scores (r=0.36, p=0.04), rSLEDAI (r=0.46, p=0.002), and renal class (r=0.7, p=0.0001). Serum β2M levels were significantly negatively correlated with complement 4 levels (r=-0.31, p=0.04) and significantly positively correlated with extra-renal SLEDAI scores (r=0.3, p=0.05).

Conclusion: These findings confirm that sCys C and sβ2M levels are increased in JSLE patients in association with the overall active disease. However, sCys C level may act as a promising non-invasive biomarker for predicting kidney disease activity and biopsy classes in children with JSLE.

Citation: Baraka E, Hashaad N, Abdelhalim W, Elolemy G. Serum cystatin C and βeta-2 microglobulin as potential biomarkers in children with lupus nephritis. Arch Rheumatol 2023;38(1):56-66.

Ethics Committee Approval

The study protocol was approved by the Faculty of Medicine, Benha University Research Ethics Committee (date: 14.10.2018, no: 000066). The study was conducted in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Author Contributions

All authors contributed equally to the article.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.